BG looking forward to bowl (12-24-13) PDF Print E-mail
Written by JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor   
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 09:46
BGSU football players Bryan Thomas (right) and Jonathan Fry (left) move to board a charter bus with luggage as player and staffers load up for the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl in Detroit. (Photos: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
Bowling Green's football team is looking forward to closing out the Dave Clawson-era with a victory over Pittsburgh Thursday in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. in Ford Field.
''It's been a tremendous and rewarding five years and let's enjoy each other, enjoy this team, and enjoy this season for this three-day window, and for those three hours on that field Thursday night,'' said BG's Adam Scheier, the interim head coach, just before the team boarded the busses Monday afternoon to head to Detroit.
Over the last five years, Clawson rebuilt the program which had gone 2-10 in 2010 to a 10-3 team this season, including a 47-27 victory over previously undefeated and nationally-ranked Northern Illinois in the Mid-American Conference championship.
Clawson left the Falcons four days after the win over NIU to take over as head coach of Wake Forest.
The Falcons will have offensive coordinator Warren Ruggiero and defensive coordinator Mike Elko calling the plays from the box. Both Ruggiero and Elko followed Clawson to Wake Forest, but returned to Bowling Green for the bowl game.
''Certainly getting coach Elko and coach Ruggiero back for the game-week prep has kind of returned our guys to normalcy,'' Scheier said. ''Obviously, coach Clawson is not here, but the offensive systems, and the defensive systems, and the special teams have not changed at all.''
For BG quarterback Matt Johnson, he's excited that Ruggiero is calling the plays.
''I love coach 'R'. He recruited me; he was the reason I came to Bowling Green,'' Johnson said. ''To have him call the plays one more time, I am going to cherish it and hopefully we are going to end with a bang; we're going to put a lot of points on the board.''
Fifth-year senior linebacker Paul Swan has developed a bond with Elko and the other coaches since he arrived on campus in 2009.
''It's great to have coach Elko back for one last game, and finish out my career with him,'' Swan said. ''He came in when I was a freshman. We've been here for five years together.
''It's great to be able finish out with these coaches, minus coach Clawson.''
Jahmal Brown (left), a graduate assistant and a staffer for the BGSU football team, looks out the window as team members and staff load up for the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl in Detroit.
UGLY: The Falcons are going to celebrate Christmas the right way - with an ugly sweater contest.
''Whoever has the ugliest Christmas sweater ... they will have the pride of knowing that they had the best sweater for the BG Falcons Christmas party,'' Scheier said.
PA. PLAYERS: Many athletes hope to have the opportunity to play collegiately for a school in their home state.
However, Bowling Green has six players on its roster from Pennsylvania high schools, making the matchup special for them.
Just before Pittsburgh was confirmed as the Falcons' opponent in the game, Johnson, from Harrisburg, Pa., tweeted out he hoped Pittsburgh would get the bid.
''It was a kidding tweet,'' Johnson said. ''The staff who is there now probably has no idea who I even am. It's just a little self-motivation. And the guys from Pittsburgh on this team also have some self-motivation.
''We're happy where we're at, but it hurts not to get an offer from your home state.''
Others from Pennsylvania on BG's roster are: senior tight end Tyler Beck, from Wyomissing; redshirt junior defensive end Bryan Thomas, from Washington; redshirt freshmen offensive tackles Logan Dietz and J.J. Beggan, both from Pittsburgh; and freshman receiver John Klingerman from Bloomsburg.
GRADS: Six Falcons graduated over the weekend - Alex Bayer, Shaun Joplin, David 'Chief' Kekuewa, Matt Schilz, Brian Schmiedebusch, and Cameron Truss.
ACTIVITIES: There are several activities planned for the teams before the game.
Last night, the players went to Thunderbowl Lanes, the second-largest bowling facility in the United States with 90 lanes, to interact with each other in several activities, including bowling.
Today there is a kickoff luncheon that both teams will attend.
On Christmas morning, the head coaches and senior players from both teams, in conjunction with the Salvation Army, will help serve breakfast to less fortunate members of the community at the Masonic Temple in Detroit.
Scheier also said that there is some down time scheduled both today and on Christmas for the Falcons to be able to spend time with their families.

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